"It's well known that comedians draw from life. When Irish comedian Ed Byrne is out with his girlfriend and says something funny, he'll try to remember it the next day to use in a routine. But what happens when a bunch of comedians are being funny together? Who gets to take home the jokes?"
"That can be a contentious issue. "That's quite the thing, that," says Byrne, 35. "It's generally who first floated the topic, or whoever came up with the funniest line. I know guys who have come up with routines that the world will never see because they can't agree who came up with it. They have to agree that they can never use it."
Byrne counts comics such as Aussie Brendon Burns among his best mates. Hanging out with comedians, is, believe it or not, quite funny. It can also get very rude. "We sit around and tell the jokes we could never possibly tell on stage," he says. "We all try and top each other and out-funny each other. Our favourite thing is a thing called Heckle Club where we get a really bad DVD and sit there and slag it."
In the country for the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Ed Byrne is a frequent visitor of Australia. In fact, his first television appearance was on Hey, Hey! It's Saturday! 11 years ago, where he performed a routine about the tribulations of living with his girlfriend. The routine has lasted longer than his girlfriends. He does the same routine on his new DVD, Pedantic and Whimsical, a "greatest hits" collection of material performed during one night in Leeds. "The DVD is like 12 years in the making," says Byrne.
"It ruins the flow of a stand-up show if you say, 'Well, my last girlfriend did this' and 'My current girlfriend, she does this', so I just sort of lump them together into one big comedy girlfriend."
Byrne says most of his routines grow organically. A two-line joke might turn into an eight-minute routine over the course of a tour. The real secret to his comedy genius is this: "You know when you have an argument with someone and later on you'll go, 'Oh, I should have said that!'? Most of my stuff is that, really. It's all the stuff I should've said."
Ed Byrne will perform at the Gold Coast Arts Centre on Wednesday and the Sit Down Comedy Club, Brisbane, on Friday and Saturday."